Joy Division

27th July 1979: Imperial Hotel, Blackpool Four different tapes of this concert existFour different tapes of this concert existFour different tapes of this concert existFour different tapes of this concert exist

With OMD, Final Solution, Section 25, and The Glass Torpedoes

Gig goers got a free badge, as advertised on the poster, from the original set designed by Steve McGarry

This was a "Year Of The Child" benefit concert promoted by Section 25

* Songs performed:
01. Dead Souls
02. Glass
03. Disorder
04. Auto-Suggestion
05. Transmission
06. She's Lost Control
07. Shadowplay
08. Atrocity Exhibition

Tape 1:
Appx duration: 35 mins. Sound quality: 7/9

Tape 2:
Most of Dead Souls is missing, but has better sound (Appx duration: 30 mins. Sound quality: 8/9).

Tape 3:
Another tape surfaced in 2005, this is missing a small part of Dead Souls (Duration: 33:16 mins. Sound quality: 7+/9).
KF, who recorded this tape, sent us his memories of the concert

Tape 4:
Incredibly the person who recorded tape 3 tells us his mate also recorded the gig and that tape is even better quality.

The entire concert appeared on these bootlegs:

All Gods Angels Beware

Live In Blackpool 1979

Songs 07 & 08 from this concert appeared on the following bootleg LPs:

Shades Of Division LP

Space LP

House Of Prayer 2LP

Click for hotel web site       
Poster designed by Larry Cassidy of Section 25. His brother Vincent got a police
caution for flyposting them around Blackpool.  image courtesy

Photos taken by Martin - see below for his memories of the gig

Sounds listing 21 July 1979 thanks to Steve Benham

KF was there:
The music press were in a frenzy about the new alternative sounds emanating from the suburbs of Manchester. I had just heard the John Peel session by Joy Division. New Dawn Fades was my catalyst. I played it again and again until I realised I had to see this band. Fate or just plain good luck, I don't know which but it was announced that my new favourite band were to play the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool. A mere 50 yards from my front door step. I had often taken my tape recorder to gigs. A simple Philips affair with auto levels and a hand held mike. I knew I had to record this gig. This was something special.

In the low roofed hall with space for 300 people at a push, I took a position left of centre stage. A local band The Final Solution were getting ready to start. I knew the keyboard player and wondered if the thin ties and hitler youth style haircuts and clothing were a misinterpretation of the whole scene. There was a Nazi undertone however misguided, and 'The Final Solution' fell for it hook, line and sinker. To be honest I enjoyed their set. Twiddly keyboards and serious brooding, but it suited the atmosphere and passed the time.

Next came OMD. A tape machine that they had called 'Eric' or some such nonsense. All the rythyms were on it and andy mclusky or whatever his name was, played bass and sung some drivel over the top about messages from Stanlow oil refinery.
  Joy Division appeared and even during the long moody intro to Dead Souls I knew that this was to be something special. There was something about Joy Division that held your concentration. Maybe the fact that Ian Curtis was so intense and so obviously 100% genuine.

The Imperial was the perfect place for Joy Division to play. A small low roofed function suite behind the austere grandeur of the famous seafront hotel. You got in through a fire exit on Dickson Road. The place hasn't changed at all from the outside to this day. A dingy dark corridor with a door 10 yards down on the right which led into the main room with a stage to the immediate right and the rest of the room was dancefloor. On the opposite side to this entrance door was another door leading to the bar area. The dressing rooms were on the left as you walked in off the street. It was the only way in and so if you lingered you saw the band at close quarters.

Shadowplay, Atrocity Exhibition all became anthems for me that night. Yes they were dark and he meant it. This was performance art on a scale you will only see once in a blue moon. Dave McCullough was pilloried for the 'He died for you' article, but if you were here on this night you could maybe understand some of that article.

My tape is far from perfect, but a precious part of my musical heritage
Schubert was there:

" ... I remember this gig. it was the first time my parents let me stay out till late. I can remember watching Final solution who I thought were shite, The glass Torpedoes who at the time I thought were really good and I can remember being bored to the back teeth with OMD, I was at the back of the room, I'm 15, skint and laid on a grubby carpeted floor at the back of the room thinking I am unbelievably bored. Then I heard this band start playing, a deep throbbing bass which totally captivated my imagination and brought me back into a world filled with meaning.

Like an extra from the film "The children of the damned" with my bleach blonde hair, I got up and made my way to the front thinking "what a fuckin' band, who are they", of course it was Joy Division, I had heard of them but had never checked them out, so what I was hearing was without hype and totally cold.

I made my way to the front centre stage left, A bass player with a low slung guitar meaning every note was dancing away, a guitarist with his head down and this singer in front of me moving about like I'd never seen before. I didn't know it at the time but this was going to be a defining moment in my life (and I have been a miserable bastard ever since) it wasn't the catalyst that had got me into music, that was punk rock but it was the burning light of creativity that inspires me and many others even to this day".

Martin from North East Punk shares his memories:
I read in one of the music papers that Joy Division were to appear at a charity gig in Blackpool the very week that I was to go there on holiday with my parents. I couldn't believe my luck! I'd seen Warsaw in my home town of Newcastle in 1977 and had become a big Joy Division fan through hearing their sessions on the John Peel Show and on the Short Circuit 10".

When we arrived at the hotel in Blackpool, I listened to their Peel sessions repeatedly on my portable cassette-player in my room and re-read the review of Unknown Pleasures in one the music papers ('Melody Maker' I think), which I'd taken with me, over and over again. The gig was on a Friday, which couldn't come soon enough. It was bizarre taking the tram to the gig surrounded by holidaymakers with their 'kiss me quick' hats and candy floss. At that time I was still a punk though was becoming disillusioned with it and preferred post-Punk bands such as Joy Division (my favourites), The Pop Group, Cabaret Voltaire, etc.

The audience at the gig was a mix of 'typical' punks, 'straights' and 'poseurs.' I was speaking to a member of Section 25 (who I didn't know at that time, he introduced himself and said he helped organize the gig and was a member of one of the support bands) when in walked Joy Division. I spoke to Ian briefly before their set. I asked him when Unknown Pleasures would be available in the shops back home in Newcastle. He said he didn't know but he asked Rob, their manager, who told me, 'Very soon.' I'd been listening to their Peel sessions repeatedly and couldn't wait to get the LP!

I can't remember the order the bands appeared but I think The Final Solution were first on. I remember them doing a cover of Pere Ubu's Final Solution but they changed the chorus from 'Don't need a drug' to 'Don't need a drummer' (they had a drum-machine!) The Glass Torpedoes were sort of a Pop-Punk band, a Sid Vicious lookalike at the front spat at the singer throughout their set. I was quite familiar with OMD as I'd heard their 'Electricity' 7" on the Peel show. They were quite unusual for the time in that they were a duo and the third 'member' was a reel-to-reel tape-machine called Winston(!)

I remember Joy Division doing a brief soundcheck and that a tape of The Fall's Live At The Witch Trials was playing ('I still believe in the R 'n' R dream...') as they took the stage. I was right at the front and was, like I guess everybody there, transfixed - especially on Ian whose stage presence was a lot more confident and awe-inspiring than when I'd seen Warsaw back in '77. I remember them doing Transmission and thought the chorus was, 'Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Do The Radio' (doh!)

Local Punk band Zyclon B were on the bill but they must have pulled out for whatever reason. I do, however, remember The Final Solution, Glass Torpedoes and OMD, though unfortunately had to leave before Section 25 (who performed last) as I had to get back to the hotel - I was only 17 so (reluctantly) had to do as I was told! I recently heard a recording of JD's set (which is available on various bootleg LPs and CDs) which brought back fond memories of the gig.